Delaware Online: Free air conditioners for some Kent, Sussex residents

With the end of summer still a couple months away, the First State Community Action Agency is giving some households a way to beat the heat.

Sussex and Kent county residents can qualify for a free window air conditioner through the group’s Summer Cooling Assistance Program. Applications will be taken from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday at 308 N. Railroad Ave. in Georgetown and on July 21 at 655 S. Bay Road, Suite 4J, in Dover. Applications also will be taken by appointment.

Applicants must be 60 or over, have a disability, or have children under the age of 5. Households must also meet income eligibility requirements.

Residents should bring a photo ID for anyone in the household 18 or older, Social Security cards for everyone over six months old, birth certificates for anyone under 18, proof of income for everyone in the household, and a current electric bill. If the applicant is a renter, the lease and written permission from the landlord must be provided.

The program saves the household about $700 and is funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. First State will install the unit five to seven business days after approval.

“There are probably quite a few people that are eligible that don’t know,” said Bernice Edwards, executive director for First State Community Action Agency.

SCAP was designed to help low-income households with young children, elderly residents, and those with health conditions that could be aggravated by heat. The program also teaches people to be energy efficient.

“It has especially helped seniors and small children with respiratory problems,” Edwards said. “It has been a godsend.”

Recipients also get a kit with energy efficient light bulbs, shower heads and smoke detectors.

“We just don’t only go in and install an air conditioner,” said spokeswoman Kaneisha Trott. “It also teaches them ways to conserve energy, not only in the summer, but in the wintertime as well.”